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View Full Version : Hi, everyone. I have a question about less frequent washing & scalp flakes . . .



Pheebie
September 5th, 2014, 06:31 PM
My hair is long (past mid-back), naturally curly (3a/3b), and not color-treated. For most of my life, I've washed daily because my scalp is oily and I could never get past the 'ick' factor of unwashed hair, despite using dry shampoo. About 2 weeks ago, I decided to once again try washing my hair less (mostly to save time, but also to allow my scalp to 'regulate' itself.) So far, it's been going well - I've washed on Sunday, then washed again on Wednesday, then Saturday. However, two troubling things: one, my scalp has become itchy and flaky by the 3rd day (day before I wash again) and, when I wash, I'm losing a LOT of hair.
Is this a transitional thing? I've really been enjoying not washing every and the time it's saving me; however, I can't deal with scalp flakes and itch - these were never issues before - and I certainly can't deal with the excessive hair loss.
Any ideas/suggestions? Has anyone else experienced something like this?

ExpectoPatronum
September 5th, 2014, 07:24 PM
To me, those are signs that you're stretching washes a little further than what your scalp likes right now. I think you should try washing when your scalp starts getting itchy on the third day. Personally, I'm an every other day washer because my scalp gets so itchy and flakey by the next day. Sometimes, the best thing to do is listen to what your hair and scalp are telling you.

As for the shedding, it's normal to lose more hairs when stretching washes as those hairs didn't have a chance to come out like they did when you were washing every day. To combat that, try detangling then brushing your hair before a wash to get rid of some of those loose hairs.

EarthArtist
September 5th, 2014, 07:28 PM
I'm jumping in here!! I seem to be experiencing the same thing. Washing every third day and oiling every week. Noticing a lot of hair shed.

MsPharaohMoan
September 5th, 2014, 07:39 PM
Itchy scalp can be a sign of several problems… For me it always meant my scalp was simply too dirty! It wasn't able to handle its environment so would get hot and tender in spots. Once I washed the issue entirely went away. Try doing slightly more often washing for now and stretch washing slower. Keep in mind going from washing every day to every other day is cutting down your yearly washing in half! That's a lot for your scalp to adjust to.

meteor
September 5th, 2014, 07:53 PM
To me, those are signs that you're stretching washes a little further than what your scalp likes right now. I think you should try washing when your scalp starts getting itchy on the third day. Personally, I'm an every other day washer because my scalp gets so itchy and flakey by the next day. Sometimes, the best thing to do is listen to what your hair and scalp are telling you.

As for the shedding, it's normal to lose more hairs when stretching washes as those hairs didn't have a chance to come out like they did when you were washing every day. To combat that, try detangling then brushing your hair before a wash to get rid of some of those loose hairs.

I agree.
It's pretty sad that stretching washes is not always easy. I find that stretching washes is easy and effective only when the scalp is not producing too much oil. Otherwise, maybe you can sometimes do simple water rinses or CO-washing or use dry shampoo and BBB... in between your standard washes?

If your scalp is rebelling, flaky and feels like it really needs a wash, then I'd definitely wash it! :D It's important to avoid triggering issues like SD (where Malassezia feed off sebum and natural oils, for example...)

Also, you might like scalp-only washes, when you keep your hair dry in a bun or braid, wrapped in plastic cap(s) while you wash only your scalp with diluted shampoo? It doesn't wash as thoroughly as a complete shampooing but it can tide you over till your next wash.
Here's a video by LauraLongLocks that you might find helpful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VBOVM-dHlc

Firefox7275
September 5th, 2014, 09:09 PM
Agree don't force it, it may take time for your scalp to adjust. You may find it easier if you switch to a shampoo that is less stripping/ irritating than sulphates.

Pheebie
September 5th, 2014, 09:37 PM
Thanks to everyone for the replies. I think for the time being, I'll try just washing every other day, since the problem seems to present itself on the 3rd day. Hopefully, in time, my scalp will adjust and I can go longer between washings. :)

MiamiPineapple
September 5th, 2014, 10:08 PM
I must say that I think after lurking around here trying to perfect my own routine, there is simply no right it wrong answer to how often you should wash, especially if you co-wash. I also get itchy and gross by day 3 and need to wash. I am at the gym 7 days a week and I have also suffered from acne and oily skin my entire life (30 now still getting pimples)...so it is only logical to me that my scalp would be more oily than others without problem skin. I grew my hair from
Shoulder to waist cowashing almost everyday. I am just stretching washes now so I can enjoy wearing it down more. I say, listen to what your hair is telling you and wash when you feel it's right.

Pheebie
September 6th, 2014, 11:56 AM
I have oily skin, too AND I live in a hot, humid climate (New Orleans, where summer lasts forever!!) and I work out almost daily as well. I think the every other day co-wash will be the way to go. If that's not working, I'll go back to the daily routine. Thanks for your input. :)

MiamiPineapple
September 6th, 2014, 02:13 PM
I have oily skin, too AND I live in a hot, humid climate (New Orleans, where summer lasts forever!!) and I work out almost daily as well. I think the every other day co-wash will be the way to go. If that's not working, I'll go back to the daily routine. Thanks for your input. :)

Ohh yes I feel your pain...it'1000% humidity here in Miami too everyday and my brother lives in Nola lol ;)

Panth
September 6th, 2014, 03:04 PM
Stretching washes is only beneficial if your need to wash daily is due to excessive oil that is caused by excessive stripping and/or aggravation of the scalp by harsh cleansers.

Getting an itchy, flaky scalp with stretching washes could be a sign of seborrheic dermatitis. That condition is aggravated by keeping oil (including sebum) on the scalp as it is a source of food for the causative malassezia yeast. In that case, you are best to not stretch washes too long (i.e. if it makes things itchy, it's too long). Antifungal shampoos (e.g. 2% ketoconazole) can help a lot (though are best used after formal diagnosis by a doctor). In any case, you can switch to less stripping shampoo and/or diluted shampoo to enable you to wash sufficiently frequently to control the yeast whilst also not damaging your scalp or hair with harsh cleansers.

lapushka
September 6th, 2014, 03:10 PM
However, two troubling things: one, my scalp has become itchy and flaky by the 3rd day (day before I wash again) and, when I wash, I'm losing a LOT of hair.
Is this a transitional thing? I've really been enjoying not washing every and the time it's saving me; however, I can't deal with scalp flakes and itch - these were never issues before - and I certainly can't deal with the excessive hair loss.
Any ideas/suggestions? Has anyone else experienced something like this?

It's definitely not a transitional thing. If you get itchy and there are flakes and you lose more hair, then it's time to wash, plain and simple. I have seborrheic dermatitis, and it's the same presentation. If that occurs (itchy, flakes, hair loss), then it's time to wash, most certainly. Even time to treat (Nizoral 2% shampoo).

Pheebie
September 6th, 2014, 05:35 PM
It's so silly - "they" (i.e., various internet sources, some people you talk to) say that it's best to not wash daily. Yet I *never* had problems from washing daily, other than being crunched for time! So I try this stretching wash business and boom! Issues like I've not ever experienced in my life.
I've always been someone who could use just about anything - traditional, cheap, SLS-based shampoos included - without any dryness, flakes, or irritation. Over the past several years I've broadened my horizons, trying shampoos labeled as 'natural' (some SLS-free, some that are SLS-free but contained alternatives that were just as harsh as, if not worse, than SLS); shampoo bars (okay, but not crazy about the waxy build up); co-washing with V05 (one of my favorite tried-and-true products & methods); and lastly, baking soda & ACV (not bad at first, but my hair got crazy dry.) Through all of these various experiments, which were done on a daily basis, never did I have problems.

It's been said before, but so true: we are our own best judges of what works, and what doesn't. I have several bottles of V05 in my stash, thanks to a recent $.59/bottle sale at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, so I'm going to return to daily co-washing for the time being. I used kiwi lime this morning & already my scalp feels normal again, so I'll stick with this for a while. I may try stretching (only by one day, not two) in the future, but not just now.

I really appreciate all the responses I've gotten here - this is such a great forum & I'm incredibly thankful to have found it! :eek: